By Michael Ayotunde
A movement, no doubt, may have started in Nigeria.
The feeling here and there is spectacularly electrifying.
In a manner that defy explanation, the movement is gathering steam, angling to snowball into an unimaginable force to reckon with – in a nation that is naturally not in sync with revolution or whatever name it is called.
But what happens when it appears people have been pushed to the wall?
From North to South, East to West, the momentum is gaining traction with people from diverse backgrounds, social standings and with bated breath – all coming out to express what they feel is bound to happen in Nigeria.
Suffix to add that these innately-Obidient adherents are miles apart from the dollar-infested delegates. They certainly have never collected ‘shishi‘ from the ubiquitous Obi. Yet, their grooving around town in the last couple of weeks have been pleasantly ecstatic.
To this end, the Presidential candidate of the Labour party, LP, Mr. Peter Obi has majorly said he’s ready to change the narratives – by changing the fortune of Nigeria from consumption nation to production nation. This, from all intent, appears to resonate with the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians. This has, in earnest, forced some sort of obsession and has command huge followings from across the country and beyond.
Since his emergence as the Labour party flag bearer, the fortune of the party has risen from obscurity to now become a major talk-about association in the country. Some section in the society have started tagging LP being the much-needed 3rd Force – another leg that is expected to provide viable platform to challenge the status quo and the dominance of the All progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) – parties that have taken turns to pilot the affairs of the country at one time or the other.
Those who dare to raise their voices or say anything against Mr Obi, have received the bashing of their lives directly not from Obi himself; instead, the bashing have come from these ‘obedient followers’, who from all indications have never met nor collected ‘shishi‘ from Peter Obi.
How else do a movement start?
Same way the emergence of former U.S President, Barack Obama beat all known ‘rules’, ‘norms’ to emerge as the first black man to occupy the revered Oval office, there seems to be a semblance in this sort of ‘Obidient Movement’ that is currently taking shape and in the process, is challenging the foundation of deep-seated maladministration in the country.
Some watchers have even gone ahead to say neither Obi nor his party, the Labour Party, has structure on ground nationwide – such that can guarantee their victory at the polls come 2023.
In a swift response, Mr. Obi said, “whenever I hear of NO STRUCTURE, my answer to it is simple; the 100 million Nigerians that live in poverty will be the structure. The 35 million Nigerians who don’t know where their next meal will come from will be the structure.
“The elderly, our mothers, fathers, and the old ones dying or being owed gratuity and pension will be the structure. ASUU; the lecturers that are being owed, and the students who are not in school will be the structure.”
The response is very apt, and direct.
To the questioners, their definition of ‘structure’, without doubt, can’t be far from the known political variables – party men and women, delegates, trouble makers, under age voters, thugs and touts who wield dangerous weapons during elections, ballot snatchers, electoral fraudsters, security agencies accomplices, dubious INEC accomplices etc.
Who says these are not the main reasons why political impostors, marauders who parade themselves as political leaders will not allow genuine transformation of electoral system in Nigeria to midwife a truly free, fair elections in the country?
Laws, policies are formulated to suit their parochial interest as against common good. Imagine a lawmaker spending 23 years in the National Assembly and Nigeria is still where it is; and his conscience with the benefit of hindsight, insight does not prick him and genuinely assess himself if he truly deserve to be there, living on tax payers’ money and achieving nothing to better the life of the common man on the street?
Despite prices of things that have gone out of reach of the people: no electricity, no fuel, there is chronic poverty in the land, the economy is in the doldrums etc – all Mr President will have us to hear is: Nigeria is far better off now than he met it.
This clearly should be discernible to all that the ruling class in Nigeria and the people are NOT on the same page. The available facts, data in Aso Villa are regrettably at variance with the position of things in the country as of today. This is nothing but a failure of governance.
Under this circumstance, why would people not naturally align with a ray of hope?
Relying heavily on the legacy of Martin Luther King which centres on abundant life to all, fairness, justice, equity, and service to humanity, Mr Obama resonated his message of hope, noting that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Nigerians today are lavishing under poor governance, bad leadership, clannishness, elite colonisation of collective resources that ordinarily should serve common good.
The opportunists on the corridors of power have deployed the power of brute economic alienation to bring people under forceful subjection; they have succeeded in using poverty as a tool to cow the people. Still wonder why they share N5000, N10,000 to buy votes; and the dollarisation of politics in the country – to win elections at all cost?
Edo State Governor, Mr. Obaseki even said people no longer talk about PDP and APC; they now talk about Peter Obi. His appearance epitomized a complete departure from the outrageous, lavish posture of the self-imposed leaders who are clearly out of touch with the very people they swore to serve and protect; people whose emergence does not reflect the true, authentic wishes of the society.
The message is very clear – the people are tired; they are fed up. They are only waiting for a trigger in the mould of Obi, just like the EndSars protest, to explode.
Michael Ayotunde, is a Lagos based Analyst.